Lest you think this is a morbid topic, let me be clear, and more morbid. Yes, this is about my funeral.
My friend and voice teacher (she is eternally both) posted about her funeral on her blog and mentioned she wanted me to sing a particular song we worked on together. And I'm honored and a little nervous about that. Because really she should end up speaking and singing at my funeral. And that got me thinking a little more about my funeral. So, lest there be any confusion, let me tell you a bit about what I want. *
*I do reserve the right to change this over the years, but if anything should happen in the next little bit, here's a road map.
You know how some people and families will say "in lieu of sending flowers we ask that a donation be made to...."
Not on your life, buddy. Or mine. I want flowers. There has been a sad lack of flowers in my life, due to the fact that there are no males obligated to provide me with any, and the few times some well-intended singles ward has assigned the guys in the ward to bring flowers to the girls, somehow I always end up with a bag of flour. They think it's funny, so I laugh it off, but I'm telling you here, I want flowers. I don't care what kind, but the first person who thinks it's funny to show up with a 10lb paper sack of flour instead will probably experience me rising out of my coffin in zombie rage. I can laugh stuff off while I am socially obligated to think you are funny, but after I'm dead, all bets are off.
And speaking of my coffin, nothing fancy (it doesn't have to be, it will be covered in flowers), but also, I'd rather there not be a viewing. I've been to enough to know that an empty corpse is useless. There is no one there, they never even look like the person I knew and loved, and I'd rather not remember them that way. So I'd rather people not remember me that way either. Put my closed coffin, covered with flowers, in a room with pictures of the alive version of me. Play a mix of MoTab recordings and my solo stuff. And hand out M&M's. There should be a bowl in every table, one on the coffin, and the relief society should be picking them out of the chairs and floor when its all over. That's the alive Nancy that, if you choose to remember, you should keep in mind. And no lines. Chairs for sitting and chatting, but no lines of people waiting to stare at dead me or talk to my family. I hate standing awkwardly in lines waiting to stare at a dead person and awkwardly hug a family member while trying to come up with something comforting to say. Make some jokes, laugh at stupid things I've done, talk about what you are doing next week or where you are going on vacation next summer. Swear a little. And figure out how you and the other person knew me. I've always loved for my friends to meet each other. I think some of you would really get along well.
Now as far as services go... You should know that the Choir has a tradition of sending whoever is available to sing at the funerals of past members. We always get these little announcements and emails that say "the family has requested that choir members who are available come and sing ... Blah blah blah." I'm sure my mother would love that, and if she requests it, you are welcome to come. If that is the case, you get one song. Come Come Ye Saints. Sure its got that last verse about death, but it's really the third verse that I'm interested in. Because the third verse is about how I've lived. so don't cut that third verse, or once again, I'm coming out of the coffin and starting a zombie apocolypse. Put Jim on the organ, he knows how to pull out every stop and make that instrument sing, no timid little mourning stuff. I want some Mendelssohn and some anthems. And that one arrangement of his, page ten of volume three, he knows the one. Aaron can step in too, if they want to spell off. Also, Jeannine should sing and speak. She can choose which solo, really, but something along the lines of "Precious Lord Take My Hand" or "Weeping Mary" would be my preference. Powerful spirituals. And if that's not quite enough variety, I'd also like some children (nieces and nephews maybe?) to sing "I Wonder When He Comes Again" my family knows the arrangement. Although, if assembling a group of children to sing is too much, the Choir can also do Ryan Murphy's arrangement of the same piece.
That should about cover the music. As far as speakers go, I'm not sure I care that much. Between the music and Jeannine and Jim, you can pretty much figure out who I am and how I lived. I've got a TON of former roommates who could stand and tell you all sorts of escapades and adventures and hours of good times. But I'm not sure I want the speakers to be focused on that stuff. Laughter and fun, for sure, just not me. Throw the gospel stuff in there, but don't make it all sad and floating on a cloud playing the harp eternally. Eternity is about work, and I'll already be busy doing stuff, so if I take time out for my funeral, I want to learn something real about the work we are trying to do. Make it personal or make it general, i don't care, but talk about what we are trying to accomplish and how we are trying to accomplish it. Missionary work, temple work, family work, just keep some perspective.
And if you want to munch on M&M's during the service, please do.
Mormons know how to do a funeral luncheon, I'm not worried about that. Funeral potatoes and ham and that green bean casserole that my brother hates. But for dessert, there needs to be blueberry pie. And once again, the M&M thing. Amy knows, just like at grandpas funeral. Scattered on every table.
Finally, let's talk resting place. Mountains. I'm not kidding, if you try to bring me to Minnesota, that seals the deal on the zombie apocalypse. It's expensive anyways, and frankly I don't care if people come visit my grave or not. I wont be there. Pick a small town cemetery on a mountainside. Sure, Salem or Deweyville would work, but if not, something similar. I wont live in a small town, but I'll be dead in one. That symbolism is intended. My empty corpse won't mind the quiet long distance from shopping and the small town gossip.
And please, don't leave gross plastic flowers there. Live flowers only. And if you do get a chance to visit, I can not reiterate the point enough, I want flowers. Whatever kind you love, share them with me.
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